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Re: Ethics of Art and Debate

Thanks to Richard for his response, and for producing the Art in the first

Richard responds to :

>> Unlike Richard, I do not think that shock for shock's sake is likely to
>> the eyes of the easily offended.

... with ...

> I don't think I said that. I said "To use a material in one's work which
> itself startles the viewer is significant if (and perhaps only if) the
> material is requisite in communicating the intended metaphor." This is not
> shock for shock's sake.

But I was really referring back to the following comment :

> The fact that some subscribers found it to be in bad taste may have raised
> the discussion itself to the level of art. Art is about many things, but
> changing or expanding the vision of the viewer is certainly one of them.

Which I'm happy to admit, I may have misinterpreted.

I would agree, if Richard was suggesting that any discussion of truly
sensitive topics (and most of the really important issues in human life are
sensitive ones) is likely to result in somebody complaining that these
issues are *too* sensitive to be discussed, and (metaphorically or
physically) leaving the room.

But I would disagree if Richard was trying to suggest - as I originally
believed - that in some way we have "opened the eyes" or "expanded the
vision" of those who found the debate revolting, and begged us to stop.  My
view would be that these were the people least likely to have responded in a
significant way to the disucssion.  Hard-hearted individuals like Richard
and myself, who have been around this sort of thing before, probably just
drew a little more information.  And the greatest real effect was probably
on those who hadn't considered even the possibility before - but didn't
flinch away - and were left with something to think about.

Depending on what he originally meant, I may have been agreeing with Richard
all along.


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